Triple and quadruple disruptions of the superior shoulder suspensory complex
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OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study is to report on a series of patients who sustained triple and quadruple disruptions to the superior shoulder suspensory complex (SSSC), their associated injuries, and functional outcomes of open reduction and internal fixation. DESIGN: Prospective observational study. SETTING: Level 1 trauma center. PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: Patients who sustained more than 2 lesions to the SSSC that underwent surgery. OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) scores, range of motion, and shoulder strength measurements. RESULTS: Fifteen patients with greater than 2 disruptions (12 triple and 3 quadruple) were identified. There were 14 scapula neck fractures, 8 clavicle fractures, 6 acromioclavicular separations, 10 coracoid, and 10 acromion fractures. Rib fractures were present in 87% (13 of 15) patients. Thirteen patients (87%) sustained nerve injuries with 13 lesions distal to the brachial plexus, 5 at the level of the brachial plexus, 3 nerve root, and 2 spinal cord injuries. At final follow-up (14 of 15 patients, mean follow-up = 30.7 months), DASH scores averaged 14.9 and mean range of motion when expressed as the percentage of injured shoulder over the contralateral shoulder was 95% forward flexion, 92% abduction, and 78% external rotation. Mean strength measured by a hand-held dynamometer and expressed as the percentage of injured over contralateral was 67% forward flexion, 61% abduction, and 65% external rotation. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with triple and quadruple disruptions of the SSSC had a high rate of associated injuries including a majority with spinal and peripheral nerve lesions. Treatment with open reduction internal fixation of the scapula was associated with satisfactory functional outcomes despite decreases in shoulder strength measurements.
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